Consumers are increasingly concerned about the impact on health and the environment of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), such as formaldehyde, used in many household products, including resins, glues, paints and building materials. Evertree offers plant-based alternatives to traditional VOC-emitting chemicals found in these products. The first application will target the wood composite panel industry and will help to reduce or even remove the presence of, and exposure to, formaldehyde. Derived from rapeseed meal, Evertree’s products and technologies are vanguards of a new generation of wood composite panels, which are more competitive, as well as health and environment-friendlier.
The ‘SPI – Société de Projets Industriels’ (Industrial Projects Company) investment fund, financed by the French ‘Programme d’Investissements d’Avenir’ (Investments for the Future Program) and managed by Bpifrance, has joined forces with the Avril Group and the Israeli start-up Biopolymer Technologies (BPT) in the Evertree joint venture. The operational ramp up of this innovative joint venture in renewable chemistry should enable production start in 2017 with the launch of an industrial pilot plant in Compiègne, France, and the opening of a dedicated production facility in 2018. The production capacity should be gradually increased to reach 50,000 tons per year by 2020, thus enabling the creation of 110 direct jobs.
Through this joint venture, the three partners intend to foster the development of new commercial uses for vegetable proteins, in order to address new manufacturing requirements and growing consumer expectations, especially in terms of VOCs reduction or even removal. Indeed, VOCs exposure may affect health (irritations, reduced respiratory capacity, olfactory pollution; some VOCs are also considered to be carcinogens) and the environment (an early factor in ozone formation, greenhouse gases, and the formation of secondary particles).
In this context, Evertree will market an initial promising industrial application:
Devised by Biopolymer Technologies and subsequently developed in partnership with Sofiprotéol, Avril’s investment and development company, it involves manufacturing a resin additive from rapeseed meal, much sought after in the wood composite panel industry.
This additive targets industrial clients in the sector, who will be able to use less resin for an equivalent performance, substitute the current resins with less toxic ones and optimize their distribution, therefore achieving significant productivity gains.
Furthermore, this new market opportunity for the agribusiness sector will not require the use of large volumes of rapeseed meal – 50,000 tons worldwide, and will markedly enhance the added value of rapeseed protein.
The technology developed by Evertree provides manufacturers and end-customers with ecological, public health, economic and technological benefits. The additive performs either identically or better than those from the most frequently used petrochemical sources, without presenting any health risks for production staff or customers.
For Fabrice Garrigue, the CEO of Evertree: “Plant chemistry offers a substantial alternative to the use of fossil resources and can literally revolutionize numerous industrial applications.”
For Michel Boucly, Deputy CEO of the Avril Group: “Proteins are a major issue for the planet. By improving the techniques for protein fraction, as it has done in the vegetable oil industry, Avril is particularly well placed to bring concrete solutions to the protein challenge. The creation of Evertree is testament to Avril’s ambition regarding this challenge and illustrates its ability to create value across each of the chains in the agribusiness sector, while finding solutions for evolving consumer needs.”
For Magali Joessel, Director of the SPI fund for Bpifrance: “This 5th investment illustrates the SPI fund’s ability to gather both French and international actors, industry and R&D experts, to develop rupture innovation in France and effectively address global challenges. With the creation of Evertree, the SPI fund aims to launch a future international champion in renewable chemistry, demonstrating France’s ability to create new industrial opportunities that drive job creation.”
The European Commission approved the joint control in Evertree by the Avril Group, SPI fund and Biopolymer Technologies on 31 May 2016. Evertree now has €24M to develop and market its first industrial application. The three partners have agreed to contribute a total of €72M to Evertree over 4 years, including €28.6M by SPI investment fund. Avril will subsequently be the leading shareholder of this company.
Source: Group Avril
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